By Mike Pilosof
Arkansas City, KS-Call it a day of missed opportunities for Garden City.
Kendrick Catron pitched four brilliant innings before running into trouble in the fifth, as No. 9 Cowley shutout the Broncbusters 2-0 in game one of the Region VI Tournament Friday afternoon at Tiger Field.
"Credit their starting pitching," Garden City Coach Chris Finnegan said. "(Cole) Larson threw the first two pitches for strikes; then he threw his changeup for a third strike. He located in and out, and we really struggled with the inner half."
Larson's counterpart was equally as impressive.
After Devin Beard reached on an error in the bottom of the first, Catron got Kea'von Edwards to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play. From that point on, the sophomore was unhittable, retiring 13 straight batters. In fact, he nearly made it out of the fifth after getting Grady Davenport to ground out and Dalton Dinkel to fly out. But Kevin Rolon laced a two-out single to left, and Cross Factor roped an RBI triple to put the Tigers on top 1-0. After a coaching visit to talk to Catron, Parker Dunn provided the insurance, hitting a line-drive, run-scoring single that gave Cowley a 2-0 edge.
"I thought Kendrick pitched well; he was fine," Finnegan said. "He's a sophomore; he's had plenty of innings. I thought we got a quality start. Defensively, we made one mistake that cost us."
The problem was that Garden City could never get on track offensively against Larson. Clint Allen recorded two singles: one in the first and one in the third. But that was the extent of the Broncbuster offense as Larson retired eight out of the final nine hitters he faced, putting an exclamation mark on his fifth victory of the season.
Larson tossed a complete game, fanning six and walking three. He threw 102 pitches.
Catron went 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. Yakel pitched 1/3 of an inning of scoreless relief, and Austin Stone surrendered two hits in three innings.
Next up: Game 2-Garden City at Cowley-1:45 p.m. pregame; 2 p.m. first pitch on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app